Smash Hits Magazine
Silverchair are Australia's hottest (not to mention cutest) new bands in years, but they couldn't be more unhappy about it. "We don't want to be big," they insist as they finally open up and talk about success, school and life after tomorrow!
When silverchair first released their tomorrow EP on the new indie record label Murmur, they didn't have huge expectations for it. In fact, they didn't think it would do very well at all.
"We expected it to sell about 2,000 [copies]," Daniel Johns told Sydney's grunge bible On the Street. "And then when it started going up a bit we're going, 'Oh my God, ha ha ha.' Then when it got to 15,000, we're going, 'Hope it doesn't sell any more, we don't want it to sell any more!' When it went to number one, we were kind of spewing! They're going, 'Congratulations" and we're going, 'Everyone's going to expect every record to go to number one!'"
That tomorrow EP is now expected to go close to selling 200,000 copies -- virtually unheard of for a single, let alone a debut album single. It also spent six weeks at No. 1. Not bad for a debut effort, eh?! But of course, the thing everyone wants to know is -- just what the blazes is
tomorrow all about, what with its "fat boy, fat boy" bit and all that indecipherable shouting of Daniel's.
"It's about a rich guy going to a poor guy's hotel and he's complaining because it's not up to his standards," Daniel told another Sydney grunge newspaper, Drum Media. "And 'fat boy' isn't as in overweight boy, it's as in overindulgent."
Phew, well, that clears that up then.
Daniel says that he gets his inspiration for songs from watching TV (tomorrow came about from watching an SBS program apparently), cartoons and even from his own dreams.
"Just things that concern you and that you can relate to, you
just write a song about it."
It might surprise silverchair fans to learn that when Daniel and fellow [silverchair member] Ben
Gillies first started writing songs together in primary school, they started out writing short rap tunes. Obviously, their taste in music has changed somewhat.
After the huge success of tomorrow, it seems inevitable that Ben, Daniel and Chris' lives will change rather drastically. Not so, they reckon. Daniel says their friends in year 10 at Newcastle High -- where they're just starting year 10 -- still treat them the same.
"They don't say much. Most of our mates have known us since primary school," Ben insists. "Nothing's changed, so that's pretty cool!"
Daniel says that they keep things rather low-key at school and don't say anything about their success or the band. They've even told the school principal he's not allowed to mention it at the assembly!
But what about money? Surely the lads must be rolling in it now. Apparently not.
"We get a bit," Ben says. "I really don't know how much. We haven't got any of it yet!"
Perhaps they'd better have a quiet word with their parents who manage them, eh?!
"You don't have to pay 'em," Daniel reveals. "It's not too bad. People say, 'Wouldn't it be heaps dumb being managed by your mum?' but it doesn't really matter. We still don't associate with our mums any more than we did."
Well, thank goodness for that! (Mums around the nation take note!)
Rather surprisingly -- considering their own age -- the one thing silverchair hate more than anything else is having young fans scream at them.
"Teenyboppers are mental," Ben, 15, wails."Hype sucks. I hate hype, it sucks. It's like all teenyboppers... (does a girly scream). It's not for us."
Sadly for them (but happily for everyone else) that may not be the case for long. Especially since they're just like a young and not very ugly Nirvana...or are they?
"We get compared to Nirvana a lot and that just pisses us off totally," Ben recently declared. "The only thing that makes Daniel looks like Kurt Cobain is the hair. The sound is not there. The guitar sound and drum sounds are completely different. The bass sounds a little similar, but to compare them is just stupid."
Still, with silverchair now enjoying Nirvana-like success, you'd have to admit that those comparisons look like they won't stop for a while. Maybe Daniel should just invest in one of those Keanu-in-Speed haircuts, eh, to stop all the comparisons? Just a thought.
The 'chair's new single, pure massacre, however, is a lot heavier than tomorrow and that was completely intentional, say the guys.
"tomorrow was, like our most commercial song, so all the rest of our songs, we don't expect them to go to the top 10 or top or anything," Daniel explains. "We just want pure massacre to maybe hang around the top 20 of the alternative chart for a while. Most of our songs aren't very commercial. We've got a song called shade thats fairly commercial. That's probably our only other commercial song. It's about abuse."
Sounds, er, charming. pure massacre, meanwhile, is all about war, according to Daniel. He says he was watching something about war on TV but can't remember which war it was. "I think it was that Bosnia thing," he [says].
So don't go expecting silverchair to put out any more tomorrow type tunes.
"We didn't want to get established as a teenybopper, All-4-One band," Daniel points out. "So after we put out tomorrow and we kind of went all right on the mainstream charts, we said we've got to put out something more alternate. We just want to be an alternate band. And maybe people [who] follow the mainstream charts'll like it as well."
Looks like they already do, dudes, as pure massacre has already hit No. 1 on the mainstream charts and bodes well for their forthcoming album which may have the title "Llama's Revenge." Oh dear. Not more success. silverchair are going to be even grumpier than they are now, aren't they?!
"We don't want to be very big at all right now," Daniel grumbles. "We don't want to be known as the band who thinks they're rock stars, either. We just try and do everything that most other bands don't do. Like, they travel in limos and we're like, oh, no, we're never doing that. Y'know, I don't reckon
it looks very good when you're 15 and you're getting out of limos."
You know, he just might have a point there. But what about the 'chair's future?
"As soon as we get big heads, we're stopping," Daniel insists. "That's our oath between us all. As soon as one of us gets a big head, we're going to tell them and we're not going to make any room for their feelings. And if they keep getting a big head, we break up."
Lets hope that doesn't happen then, eh?!
Back in their early days when they were still called the Innocent Criminals and were a four-piece band, these are some of the crumbly old rock tunes that the band used to cover live. Ask your dad about 'em!
Rock and Roll and Stairway to Heaven, both by Led Zeppelin
Foxy Lady and Fire, both by Jimi Hendrix
Into the Fire by Deep Purple
The 'chair are big fans of Soundgarden, Ministry and the Cult, but really love Aussie bands [such as] You Am I
(they claim they got part of their name from one of their songs) and the hot new indie act Magic Dirt. "They got off!" Daniel yelps.
One band they probably aren't that fussed on is Hole, fronted by Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love. During one of the Big Day
Out shows recently, she told the crowd, "So there's this young guy who looks like my dead husband Kurt and sings like Eddie
Vedder - how lame!" Oops.